Saturday, October 24, 2009

Random Story About Someone From the Past

Decades ago, I was involved in a tumultuous, doomed relationship with an intense young woman. We were together for a couple of years, about half the time exclusively. As relationships of this nature typically do, this one ended badly. Occasionally, I would run into her around town and there were a few awkward social situations involved. Then, she moved away and I completely lost track of her.
Then somebody invented the internet and I found myself one day visiting a website called "girlgeeks" for reasons I can't recall and which are not important, except that they have a section dedicated to "Women Who Inspire Us," and BING! Suddenly, she was back on my radar screen. Her story is her story and all of this leads somewhere, I promise.
It just goes to show you never know how the people with whom you enter into relationship will impact you in the long run. By crazy coincidence, it came to pass that my old girlfriend had morphed into some kind of international expert on a topic I was researching for my employer. An exploratory phone call led to a series of e-mails and proposals involving her and a couple of her associates.
Keep in mind that she is frozen in my mind as someone in her early twenties who is trying to define herself personally and professionally. The evidence is there to indicate that she certainly has made a name for herself on the world stage. She inspires women, after all. She has emerged as a leader in her industry, an author and a highly-sought after presenter at high level conferences. She has even testified before Congress.
So, my talks continue with one of her associates. She's not involved in the most recent conversation and the man on the other end of the phone can no longer contain his curiosity about my relationship with her. Apparently, he holds her in high esteem. He asks me, "So, did you work for her?" I took a beat and suppressed a chuckle. He noticed the pause and then I simply aswered, "Well, uh, no." There was some kind of follow-up question about the context in which I had worked with her in the past. Finally, I said, "Our relationship was personal."
This was his opportunity to be befuddled (which, with all respect, truly did not compute for me). He sucked in a little breath, almost gasped, then paused and said, "Well, good for you."
Really? I guess so. It was a long, long time ago. Maybe I can get on her Christmas card list.

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